PSAT stands for Preliminary SAT, and as per the ‘preliminary’ in the name, these scores are not integral factors in college admissions. However, scores earned during junior year are used in determining National Merit Scholarships. Understandably, many parents desire for their child to perform well enough on the PSAT to have a chance at earning a National Merit Scholarship. This is an admirable goal; however, bear in mind that not all National Merit finalists receive a scholarship. And the majority of the scholarships are for $2,500 annually; a nice reward, but quite nominal when compared to the total cost of many colleges today.
Remember that the primary purpose of the P(reliminary)SAT is to help prepare for the main event – the SAT. The PSAT allows students a snapshot of what expect on the SAT; and as the PSAT scores are not sent to colleges, this exam is a safe way to practice for the actual SAT.